Reality TV Stars Become Warriors To Raise Funds For Youth

C4YL Celebrity Participants 2017


When Missy Payne competed on the hit CBS show Survivor in 2015, she came in second place and departed from Nicaragua without the million dollar prize, but walked away with a winning idea to change lives. Payne spent 15 years as a competition cheer coach but after her time on Survivor, she decided to channel her energy into helping high school youth discover their passion and pursue their dreams, just as she had out on those islands. On August 25-26, reality TV stars from an array of television shows including Survivor, Amazing Race, Big Brother and American Ninja Warrior gathered in Dallas to help Payne raise funds for her non-profit, Cheer 4 Your Life.  The weekend kicked off on Friday, August 25 with the “It’s A Jungle Out There” party at the historic Granada Theater. Guests enjoyed an uplifting evening consisting of dinner, open bar, and silent and live auction. Entertainment consisted of inspiring musical and dance performances from Cheer 4 Your Life teen beneficiaries.

The evening’s emcee and auctioneer was SJ Tuohy, the adopted brother of Michael Oher, whose family story was famously told in the hit movie, The Blind Side. “When my brother Michael was playing high school basketball, my Dad asked his friend Nick Saban (who was the Head Coach at LSU at that time) to come take a look at him and to let him know if he had any real talent,” said Tuohy. “It took Nick just 5 minutes of watching Michael play before he told my Dad that Michael would be a professional player in the NFL, if that was what he wanted. It took Nick 5 minutes to see what society hadn’t bothered to see in 15 years – that he had the ability to be somebody special. We often do that, we disvalue people - we cast them off without giving them a real chance - and you never know how many Michael Oher's there are out there unless you give kids a chance - and that's what C4YL does.”

On Saturday, August 26, the festivities continued with the Warriors Games, a family-friendly event that was held on the grounds of the Lake Highlands Recreational Center.  Participates were fired up to compete and attendees were able to watch teams comprised of former players from Survivor, The Amazing Race, Big Brother and American Ninja Warrior and young adults from Cheer 4 Your Life’s teen Warrior program compete in challenges similar to those seen on the hit CBS show, Survivor. The teams were hit with twists and turns as the games progressed. In true Survivor tradition, the final challenge to determine who would be crowned the Winning Warriors was a fire-making challenge. Congrats to Survivor’s Keith Nale and his teen teammate, Colby Carter, for using a flint and creating a fire big enough to burn through the twine to raise their flag, making them victorious!!

Proceeds from this event raised funds for Cheer 4 Your Life, a non profit organization 501(C)3 that helps empower youth by providing supportive funding as needed for individual participation in various clubs and school programs including but not limited to athletic programs, performance based programs and service projects. “The most beneficial part of the Cheer 4 Your Life journey (for me) so far has been the Warriors project, which is a leadership program for teens encompassing community outreach and personal growth while raising money through healthy competition in monthly challenges,” said Missy Payne. “To witness the teen’s reactions to meeting each other for the first time (members of the Warriors Project & C4YL Beneficiaries) – it’s just so rewarding!”